Arts & Culture

Blumenthal Announces Fund to Bridge Disparities in Arts Education

Organization raises $225K to launch new initiative

Performers dance onstage at the Jan. 13 10th Anniversary Blumey Awards Celebration.
Performers at the Jan. 13 10th Anniversary Blumey Awards Celebration. (Photo courtesy of Blumenthal Performing Arts)

Blumenthal Arts, one of Charlotte largest cultural, entertainment and education arts organizations, announced this month that it has already raised $225,000 for its newly launched Blumey Inspire Fund, an initiative that will increase access to high-quality arts education for underserved high school students in Charlotte. 

The announcement was made at a fundraiser gala on Jan. 13 celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Blumey Awards, Blumenthal’s annual celebration of local high school theatre talent that serves as a regional affiliate of the Jimmy Awards, the National High School Musical Theater Awards presented annually on Broadway. 

The Blumey Inspire Fund will help establish new theater programs in schools, closing disparity gaps and removing barriers by providing access to essential training and resources. 

“The 10th Anniversary Blumey Awards Celebration was the perfect launch pad for the new Blumey Inspire Fund,” said Andie Maloney, Blumenthal’s vice president of education, in a release. “The joyful evening reunited alumni, uplifted arts educators, and spotlighted current Blumey students. The impact of the program was palpable in a night filled with stories of students propelled into careers pursuing their dreams on and off stage.”

The Blumeys provide students at participating schools workshops and master classes with creative talent from New York. This year’s event is scheduled for May 26

The Blumey Awards have ignited careers for creatives in the theatre industry and beyond. Participants such as Amina Faye, Reneé Rapp and Bryson Battle have gone on to win Tony nominations, produce Broadway shows, star in major films and national tours, and more. 

Performers at the Jan. 13 10th Anniversary Blumey Awards Celebration. (Photo courtesy of Blumenthal Performing Arts)

“Arts for kids and arts for young adults is one of the most important things that can exist,” said Blumey alumnus Phillp Johnson Richardson. “If I didn’t have arts programs like this, I don’t know where I would be. (I) literally started (my) career from this.” 

Learn more: Charlotte Actress Lacey Caroline Is Poised for a Breakout Year in 2024

The Blumey Inspire Fund grants high school students across the Carolinas industry resources and opens up opportunities on and off stage. Grants of varying amounts will be made available to provide students with professional training, mentorship and materials to help minimize disparities in arts education.  

Blumenthal Arts has invested more than $2 million into the Blumey Awards program which has engaged 200,000 students since its founding, and has played a critical role in opening doors for students to achieve their dreams. 

“It really demonstrates that when we invest in our young people, open a few doors for them that many of them will go on to achieve great things,” said Tom Gabbard, President and CEO of Blumenthal Arts. “But it’s incumbent on us to create great programs like that … so that they have a fair chance to succeed.” 

The Education Department at Blumenthal Arts offers a variety of educational and enrichment programs for students across the Central Carolinas in order to increase access to arts and education. Blumenthal offers community and student programs, which include free programs like Arts for All, Open Mics, Community Cues Junior Theater Celebration, Junior Ambassadors, and internship and scholarship opportunities.

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